The rumor that J. Cole and Diddy threw hands has been floating around for nearly a decade now, and it was interesting to see an older, wiser Cole finally acknowledge the rumble on wax. “Let.Go.My.Hand,” Cole’s introspective cut from The Off-Season, finds the 36-year-old rapper reflecting on fatherhood, fame and his notorious scrap with a Bad Boy.
Word of the industry brawl first appeared around August 2013, the chatter being that Cole and Puff fought at an MTV Music Awards after-party. The story goes that Puff argued with Kendrick Lamar over his “King of New York” claim on 2013’s “Control,” and tried to pour a drink on him. J. Cole, a friend of Kendrick, stepped in, and a fight broke out between Cole and Puff’s crew.
In 2020, Cole’s manager laughed off the story via social media.
By 2021, fight had become more of urban legend than rap history at this point, so fans were surprised when the usually reserved Cole spoke on the matter, rapping:
“I was scufflin’ just to save face
Couple wins, couple losses, some broken up too quick to call it
My last scrap was with Puff Daddy, who would’ve thought it?
I bought that nigga album in seventh grade and played it so much
You would’ve thought my favorite rapper was Puff.”
Puff’s No Way Out album dropped in 1997, which would have put Cole, born in 1985, right at the age of a seventh grader around the time the project was released.
The song closes out with a short prayer by Puff. If the mogul’s appearance on the cut is any indication, it seems the two men are in a much better place. Cole’s willingness to speak about the event, and his decision to place Diddy’s vocals at the end, is the type of maturity and growth we love to see in Hip-Hop.
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